A proposed ordinance in Everett, Washington, is calling for the city's "bikini baristas" to cover up while serving coffee.
According to KCPQ, the coffee stands, which employ female baristas wearing risque outfits like pasties and a thong, have reportedly been a nuisance for police. The city has said that the stands have had problems with "acts of prostitution" and "flashing," which have been "labor intensive" to deal with.
"We know criminal activity isn’t happening at every barista stand, but our experience has been this type of business model does tend to allow for that criminal activity," said Megan Pembroke, a spokesperson for the city.
The ordinance being considered would require that baristas cover up their breasts, buttocks, stomachs, and top three inches of leg with clothing, KING-TV reports. An example sketch of the new dress code shows a woman in a tank top and shorts.
Employees and owners of the handful of bikini barista stands in Everett have said that they don't support the ordinance.
The owner of stand Dream Bean, who wished to be identified as T. J., said that the staff was free to wear what they wanted, and that wearing bikinis or lingerie was a good way to make themselves stand out from other coffee stands. She added that staff at her stand wore the same amount of clothing as someone going to the beach, calling the proposed dress code ridiculous.
"We make great coffee, and we take pride in the beans and the way we make our expresso," said T.J. "It's just cute girls making really good coffee."
"When I first did it, it was kind of weird," said Kat, who works at the Hillbilly Hotties barista stand. "I said, I don't know how I feel about it."
"Ninety percent of the people who come through don't talk to you as if you weren't wearing clothes," Kat said, adding that she now enjoys working in the field after six years.
Kat said that if Everett passes the ordinance, it would affect how much money she could make while working. "It would be less profitable," she said, adding that if the dress code passes, she will look for another city to work in.
"I understand that they will sneak a peek while I make their coffee, that is what they are here for," said Kat of customers at the stand. But she said she doesn't let it go further than that.
"Those people who take it a little bit further, I just quickly shut the window on them and I tell them, I won't service you," said Kat.
In 2009, KCPQ reportedly captured footage of a bikini barista selling a strip show, and some of the baristas have reportedly been investigated by authorities for prostitution.
The ordinance will reportedly be introduced sometime in spring 2017, with three public hearings before the city decides whether to pass it. The dress code will go into effect in 90 days if the City Council passes it, and baristas who violate the code will be subject to fines.
The city has also said that if an owner of one of the stands does not want to follow the dress code, they will need to apply for an adult entertainment license, much like that of a strip club.